Another day has come as the king sun slowly disseminates its light as it mark another journey. Uncovering another Gem that lies ahead of me as it waits for my two little itchy feet to have freely traipse on its stunning scenery. I have long been waiting for this time, and excitements are actually looming overhead as I chase another memorable day. I’ve been planning to visit Lake Holon way back when it wasn’t yet famous, but I couldn’t fight with an unseen adversities.
Grinning from ear to ear as I distinctly see the firmament above, expecting it to just coordinate for it has been raining like cat and dog for the past days. As I acted my way to Lake Holon, there were also group of travelers who fell out to challenge themselves for another weekend. A group of friends like around an age of 18-20 who seems to be so energized on their journey, so as me. They eventually became my friends and they feed me during my overnight stay at Lake Holon. Their kindness was freely flowing in their veins as it moves out and manifested outside.
In Tboli Tourism Office, we went there for a registration, which we didn’t know that we should have our registration beforehand cause they only allow a maximum number of campers at Lake Holon. The safe thing was they were kind enough to permit us to climb to Lake Holon.
Lake Holon or formerly known as Lake Maughan is marked as the cleanest lake in Region 12 and one of the National finalist in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and ranked first in the 2003 and 2004 search for the inland bodies of water in the whole Philippines archipelago. The crater lake has an area of 304 hectares and more or less at an elevation of 4,700 feet above sea level and had a turquoise clear water, free from trash and dirt and offers panoramic view that will surely give you a pure bliss and tranquility.
In order for us to get to Lake Holon, we bear to ride an almost one hour of Motorcycle going to the jump off area. From there, we had our orientation by group, conducted by a well dressed and beautiful Tboli girl on her Tboli attire. She informed us about the trail, what to see and how challenging the trail is. There are two trails going to Lake Holon, the Kule Trail and Salacafe trail. If you desire to see the panoramic view of Lake Holon, you have to choose the Kule trail which is more difficult than Salacafe trail. The easy trail is Salacafe, but you won’t take the chance of viewing the lake in an overlooking state completely. We opted the KULE trail going to Lake Holon, but on our way back, we took the SALACAFE trail. Every group should have a tour guide for a price of PHP600, they also have porter if happen you bring many things and you can’t manage to fetch them all going to the lake, the price is PHP20 per kilo.
A 2-3 hour hikes through the most beautiful portions of the forest as we made our way to Lake Holon. We passed by to the different stations like around 5 stations before reaching the stunning beauty of Lake Holon, and the camping site area. I’ve seen a bunch of beautiful and well grown big trees while the most awaited scenery is resting on its innate state lies ahead of me. After a backbreaking trek, where we had worked through a challenging trail as we started to ascend and finally we have survived and we made it to the 4th station, which is the viewing deck of Lake Holon. I couldn’t elucidate how I caught myself in awe as I’ve viewed the lake like as if, I’m gazing at the beautiful painting executed in fresco. Truly, mother nature never fails to amaze me.
We rest on the viewing deck and just savor the stunning view before we descend down going to the campsite area of Lake Holon. It was an hour of a trek from the viewing deck going to the campground area where we experienced the genuine beauty of the forest, the cold winds touching our surface while the birds freely chirping above us, it was soothing and everything about our sojourn is really an awesome experienced.
We had at last reached the coastline of the lake and in order for us to get to the camp site, we need to ride a boat for a price of PHP50 for each passenger. What impressed me was the clear water of the lake, very calm and truly a piece of paradise to behold. Upon getting to the campsite area almost 2:00pm, we set up our tent and prepare for lunch as well. The dark clouds was looming overhead was seemed to be very teed off and ready to let go of its anger, then a sudden strong wind and rain came as they unite with their miscreant behavior. Some tent were being vitiated as the tarpaulin are being squandered by the strong wind.
The dark is filling the whole space as it commemorates the coming of the night. While the whole space was filled with darkness the temperature was slowly changing. We all clothed with the coldness brought by the wind that really made us beg for the presence of the heat, so we then started doing a bon fire to mitigate the strong presence of coldness. The night has traveled fast and I was called by my sleepy eyes. The evening species was all I have heard until I was lulled to a deep slumber.
Morning has arrived and everyone in the camp area is waiting for the sunrise like an angry fire waiting for the water to be killed. The sunlight slowly disseminating, as if it is saying hello to us while slowly getting out behind the mountain range of Mt. Melibengoy or known as Mt. Parker. The sunlight touching the calm lake that really wowed us since the lake was seems to be shimmering under the welcoming sun. Everyone was in truth in awe because of what their naked eyes have witnessed, even I myself didn’t stop clicking my camera to hopefully take the one of a kind experience.
Some are already fixing their tent while some are busy preparing for breakfast and unending photo shoot almost everywhere. The place is actually a perfect spot in wherever angle you want for a photo shoot, it’s like a 3D scene as your backdrop. Soon enough we had our breakfast, satisfying our stomachs before leaving Lake Holon so we will have enough energy to trek again going to the receiving area. Some of my mates were enjoying the lake as they decided to do some swimming session before leaving the lake. I was about to join them, but I decided not to, since I find the water very cold.
On our way back we took the Salacafe trail which is about 2-3 hours of trek depending on your pace. The trail is not as challenging like the one in Kule, but I guess it’s a bit far. We have at last arrived at the receiving area where we rested for a while and go back to Tboli tourism office to get our Certificates as a proof that we have conquered the challenging and yet amazing experience to Lake Holon. Everyone of us are grinning from ear to ear as we marked another travel experience that we will surely cherish forever.
I would wish to thank this group of travelers for helping me all through out the journey. They have been so kind to share their food and everything that they have brought with them. To Kesha Collen, Areno Jhenry, Carmel Ann, Kwen, Paul and Carlo, thank you guys for being so kind to me. I wish we could meet once more for some other adventure. These people have proven that one of the great things you can surely gain when you travel is meeting strangers with good hearts and you’ll gain good friends after an adventure. Precisely like the saying posted in one of the tree that says “Meet as a stranger and leave as a friend”. So I guess our friendship started the moment we have met. Thank you again guys for being so kind and would love to see you all again on my next Mindanao trip.
HOW TO GET THERE
Major Airlines are flying to General Santos City almost every day. From General Santos City International Airport, ride a van going to SM for only PHP150 fare. As you reach SM, ride a tricycle going to Bulaong Terminal and fare is PHP10. From General Santos City’s Bulaong Terminal, ride a nonstop bus (Yellow Bus Line), bound to Marbel (Koronadal City). The travel time is around 1 hour and PHP75 fare. As you arrived in Koronadal City, travel straight to the Van Terminal and take the one that bound to Tboli. Asked the driver to take you directly to the tourism office in Tboli, since it’s a bit close to the Tboli Terminal. The travel time is around 45 minutes to an hour and the fare is PHP100.
*Contact the Tboli Tourism office before going there since you require a reservation beforehand.
*You better start trekking as early as possible so you won’t meet the heavy rain on the way, especially if you travel to the following months: August, September, October, November and December.
*Pack light, simply bring the necessary things during your trip or you’ll end up paying 20PHP per kilo if you’re going to request for a porter to bring your things.
*The Kule trail is really challenging, especially if you don’t have any experience in trekking so you might as well prepare if you’re going to Lake Holon.
*Lake Holon is not an easy drop by spot where you can go there in the morning and depart in the afternoon. You really have to stay overnight if you desire to experience the amazing innate beauty of Lake Holon.
*Bring your own tent, food, water and necessary utensils. Also bring flashlight, power bank for your gadgets, make sure your camera is fully charged, please do not forget to bring your jacket cause you need it badly at night.
*You need a tarpaulin to cover your tent because it will rain anytime during the nighttime. You can rent when you arrived at Lake Holon for PHP150 good for 2 tents and PHP100 for one tent.
*During my visit there were actually some who are not responsible for their garbage. Please make certain to bring your garbage bag and be responsible enough. I likewise noticed that there were some campers who left plastics of their shampoo, toothpaste and other garbages near the flowing water which is really a big NO.
* Please just enjoy whatever our mother nature provides, but never forget to take good care of it.
TBOLI TOURISM OFFICE CONTACTS
Website: http://www.facebook.com/LAKE HOLON. Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org . Mobile Numbers: +63- 912-4731-515 or +63-912-7204-151
ESTIMATED AMOUNT OF MONEY TO PREPARE AND POSSIBLE EXPENSES.
General Santos City to Koronadal City- PHP75
Koronadal City to Tboli- PHP100
Tourism Office Registration- PHP10
Tourism Office to Jump off point (motorcycle good for 2) – PHP450
Food – PHP300
Travel Guide (good for 10) – PHP600
Note: If you travel alone, you can join with other travelers to save some money like what I did.
Boat ride – PHP50
Receiving area to the Tourism office (motorcycle good for 2)- PHP350
Tarpaulin to cover the tent –PHP100
TOTAL EXPENSES IF YOU TRAVEL ALONE – PHP2,035
TOTAL EXPENSES IF YOU TRAVEL WITH FRIENDS (8person) PHP1,110.
NOTE: PRICES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE.
NOTE: This blog post is part of my 10 day solo backpacking in SOCCSKSARGEN last September 9-19, 2016. You can as well check some of my travel journey and stories during my 10 days backpacking with the link below.